Cousin Kate – Review

The poem cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti is about a young girl who falls in love with a great lord (a rich and powerful man), but then he leaves her for her cousin. Eventually she finds out that she is pregnant (cousin Kate) but had to deal with the consequences all by herself. As the great lord does not want to be involved in a baby when not married (this was highly disrespected at this time). It is set sometimes during the 1800’s and a young cottage maiden was living a happy life with her friends, but she was taken away by a powerful man.

I get the picture that she was happy without him as she says “contented with my cottage mates”. I like this as it hints an idea that something may go wrong. Cousin Kate is the cousin she has, who gets chosen over her. She is reluctant to think about not going off with the lord, even though that her cousin is pregnant by him. The girl who is the victim of this poem, seems to think she cares more about the lord. She thinks she loves him, where as “cousin Kate” is with him for just the money. “Your love was writ in sand” I favor this metaphor as it’s saying in a way that “cousin Kate’s” love can easily be washed away.

The victim of this poem as it were seems to have been a innocent and pretty girl, as she says he “lured” her “to his palace home”. Almost like a stranger “luring a child into a car” This is why I despise of this line. “Woe’s me for joy there of” this means that she’s unhappy/depressed at the way things have turned out between them both, at this stage I feel sorry for her, She’s yound, pregnant, and heartbroken. “Shameless, shameful life” This one reminds me of a mirror when reading it, but although the image looks the same. It means so much different.

I ponder if this means that when she was with him, she didn’t care what people thought… but now the fun is over, and the consequences are being paid. She is ashamed of what she has done and what she if left with. “Play thing” she describes herself as a toy, something that he used to play with for when he was bored. She feels used, and like a…. “play thing” basically… and just like a toy, which gets old. She feels replaced by a newer model. “Changed like a glove”, again she’s saying he used her. Just like a glove, which eventually got dirty or out of fashion… e trades her in for something fresh, something he still respects.

She feels like a “unclean thing” as she had sex with him before they wed, in which those days was disgraceful. Plus where she could have kept pure, like a virgin or a “dove” (symbol of purity) she has now lost that, maybe she feels it’s her fault. She sees herself as a disrespected member of public. People in those days would of crossed the road if they had seen her coming, not looking or talking to her in any way.

“The neighbors call you good and pure, Call me an outcast thing. I like this line the most, as it shows you how much of an outcast she is, purely because of getting pregnant. In the second half of the poem she talks about her cousin… it starts off as a jealous “he bound you with his ring” She goes on the say that the public cal her a “outcast thing” in other words, people didn’t want to know her. And while the maiden is crying with no money “I sit and howl in the dust”(I also see this quote as it “dust” memories that have past) Her cousin Kate is singing in riches… “you sit in gold and sing” as to say that cousin Kate doesn’t care that her cousin is heartbroken, and penniless.

Cousin Kate does not care that her relative is emotionally destroyed by this man who has bin stolen off her by her own cousin. The maiden then asks “now which of us has tenderer heart? ” actually this is probably the best bit of this poem for me. The emotion here is used so subtly, but so obviously shows that the maiden’s hearts is bigger and brighter than her cousin’s and Kate is just marrying him for the money… “If he had fooled not me but you, if you stood where I stand, he’s not of won me with his love nor bought me with his land I would of spit in his face and would have not taken his hand” basically… he’s trying to say that if the shoe was on the other foot.

Then she would have stood for Cousin Kate and not go on ahead like nothing has happened. She would have “spit in his face” showing no remorse, no respect this is the peak of her anger in this poem. She says she would’ve shrugged off his marriage proposal. The maiden gets very sly at the end of the poem as she teases Kate at the fact that she cannot have children “I’ve a gift that you have not got, and seem not like to get”. I feel that in this paragraph of the poem, the real maiden comes out, to talk, the darker side of her.

She’s all of a sudden out to get it all back. “For all your clothes and wedding ring” “my fair haired son” Here she is really bitchy as she’s tearing into Kate’s biggest flaws. As she says, even though you have the money, I’ve got something he needs, and I love. As the lord needs to son to carry on his name.. “My pride, my shame” The baby is all that she is living for, then the only reason she is living in this state. She tells her son” your father would give lands for one to wear his coronet” even though he has not got a child, he would give almost everything, so that his family name has the chance of surviving.

At the end of this poem… I feel that the lord is feeling so stupid, guilty, and he’s probably self conscious of the stupid things he has done to lose the child he will never have named after him. The seduction The seduction is about a grubby one night stand, which leaves a young teen girl pregnant. The boy has a “bad boy” image. The image is put into mind when “kisses that taste of nicotine” firstly but there are also other details about him which show that perspective of him off. What can I say… he reads porn magazines, “sniffs glue”, and goes to school rarely.

I know this as I read “when I should be at school”” “With me dad’s magazines… “i. e porn magazines… they’re not going to be fishing magazines are they? This line creates imagery in my head on him in some dodgy back allet, sniffing glue and reading porn magazines with his friends. Also “a bag with shimmering, sweet paint thinner”. These groups of comments prove what I’ve just said. I think he was experienced as he knew what to do, her gives her gives her alcohol then touches her tenderly… “fingers that stroked her neck and thighs. ”

He bought some more drink” he obviously thinks that she’ll be easier to take advantage of her when she is drunk. He’s obviously prepared as his breath smelt of “Listerine. ” I also knew he was expecting more as he wouldn’t lead her the way from the party, all the way to the docks, just to kiss her some more. I feel the boy did knew he could get at least as kiss because he obviously didn’t want a meaningful relationship , and he knew she would be vulnerable with help from the drink’s that he fuelled her with. She was knocking back “vodka” like it was “water”. Vodka isn’t a light drink either.

Neither does he respect the girl as he calls her a “little slag”. The girl is blatantly different from the boy. She studies hard at school, as she explains to him how she has her “O level in June”. She’s naive “she had nodded quite enchantedly, and her eyes were wide and bright” She obviously doesn’t drink occasionally; I pick on this as to how she reacts to it. I read that she thinks she’s in love, this shows how innocent and naive she is. She thinks everyone in the world is out there for meaningful relationships including long talks and making love not having sex.

She only thinks she’s falling in love due to the amount of drinks she has in took. “He bought more drinks, so she fell in love”. She also thinks that her first love will be a reflection of how the magazines she has read have said. But sadly she doesn’t see how different it’s going to be. The seduction is the worst nightmare of any teenagers’ 1st times. It’s incredibly filthy. As the water’s filthy…. “frightening scum on the water”. “The Mersey, green as a septic wound” Describes how dirty the scene is using a simile. The mood dramatically changes in the 2nd part.

As we join her as she finds out she’s three months gone. She’s distraught over it as she rips up all of her “my guy” and “Jackie Collins” magazines and throws her “white shoes at the wall” At this stage of the poem I honestly feel sorry for her. The girls’ reaction to the news is truly dramatic. The poet shows her lost in a frightening way. At this point she now thinks her life is over and so is the summer of her sixteenth year.

The poet clearly states “for where, now” as if it’s gone. “Full of glitzy fashion features, and stories of romance. The poet leaves a question for you to answer… She also feels cheated by what the magazines have told her. “Cheated by the promise of it all” I think in a sense, she is now jealous of her friends’. As she knows that they’re having fun now, while she sits at home in the wreck she’s created. She knows she could be “paddling in the sea”. Meeting mysterious “strangers” and going to “Blackpool jumping all the rides”. I wouldn’t say shocked is the word to use here… Although it’s similar I’d use surprised, at what she says.

Suicide comes to my mind when she says this, but… I see where she’s coming from. I mean, who wants the nosey neighbors “talking about them? “. I mean if it could happen to me, I would feel as if the neighbors had been right and kind of felt like they had got one over me. Overall I think the poem is good. Although I wouldn’t choose it over an other really. As it tends to drag on, it’s two pages long. I also don’t like the second section too much, because it’s simply depressing reading about an unhappy mother-to-be, and starving herself because of it.

Just so that the vicious public couldn’t win one over her if you like. I would say it appeals more to girls as it does to boys. As there’s a lesson to be learnt for girls here, telling them that the world isn’t such a nice place after all. I’ve got to say that the end bit sticks in my head the most as it has the power to drag someone’s emotions down in the dumps. Whilst I like Cousin Kate more as it’s not as grubby as the seduction. The content difference is that the seduction tells more detail like how the “kisses tasted of nicotine”; Where as cousin Kate just skips to the point.

Also the styles are different as in “the seduction” seems to blame it on the male. Whilst in “Cousin Kate” the assault is focused more on Kate. “Cousin Kate” is set is the past as well. So although the two poems are about the same thing, young girls getting pregnant “When she discovered she was three months gone”… and getting hurt…. “She sobbed” They’re still very different as the woman in “Cousin Kate” is out for revenge. Whilst the girl in “the seduction”, just wants to have fun. I prefer the poem “Cousin Kate” overall as it’s short, and it flows. Unlike The poem called “the seduction”.